Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Geopolitical and supply-side strains overshadowed trade concerns before the start of trading in the United States to push the price of oil sharply higher.
From an assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to emerging trade tensions between the United States and China, the weekend was full of events that could influence the price of oil for the first full week of August.
"In fact, with so much geopolitical risk it is hard to know where to start," Phil Flynn, a market analyst at the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a daily emailed market report.
Last week's rig count in the United States turned lower, suggesting there may be a slowdown in future production trends. The Argus energy news service, meanwhile, reported crude oil production from Saudi Arabia dropped 200,000 barrels per day last month, despite pleas from U.S. President Donald Trump to keep the spigot wide open to compensate for shortages from Venezuela and the expected isolation of Iran.
All of those factors are supportive of crude oil prices. On Monday, the British trade group Unite announced it started a 24-hour strike at three production platforms, limiting production from the North Sea from infrastructure controlled by French supermajor Total.
Further support may materialize later in the week as U.S. sanctions on Iran limit what Tehran can do financially. Sanctions that go into force on Tuesday bar Iran from purchasing or acquiring U.S. dollars and limit what it can do with its own currency, the rial, outside of Iranian territory.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Central Bank said it would introduce measures to protect foreign currencies and gold coming into the country and European leaders will enforce blocking statutes to protect companies still doing business with Iran from U.S. sanctions.
In a joint statement, the British, European, French and German foreign ministers said there were committed to keeping the Iranian nuclear agreement, formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, intact without the United States.
"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas," their statement read.